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Data Influence: Why and How to Track Your Self-Storage Marketing Efforts

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By Rick Beal and Julia Grignon

The average customer has tons of options when searching for a self-storage facility. With the power of the Internet, consumers have ever greater control over the products and services they buy. This has forced facility operators into a new era of advertising, leaving marketers to adapt. Online search algorithms have gotten smarter, and data has never been more important.

The key to a successful storage business lies in the information we collect about our customers. It’s crucial to understand their decision-making process. How do we know what they want? And how do we know if our marketing efforts are worthwhile? Every facility operator wants to justify the effectiveness of his marketing investment but may not know where to get the right information. You can gather this data from sources such as Google Analytics, customer surveys, online reviews and even your revenue-management software. The more you have, the easier it will be to make informed decisions.

Improving online marketing results and increasing revenue is the beginning of a successful strategy. Combining the data gathered from marketing reports and customer intelligence will help you understand how far your marketing budget will take you.

You’re not alone in thinking this is an arduous task. It takes time, patience and sometimes a little suffering to see success. One way to think of your marketing is to compare it to an ice-cream sundae. Think of your marketing efforts as the toppings. Some people like all of them, while others only like specific ones. With time and tracking, you’ll learn which “goodies” are well-liked and which aren’t. Some will increase revenue while others may not make a difference. Identify what does and doesn’t work and for your customers. That's the real game-changer.

Track the Journey

It’s not our job to tell customers what to buy. Rather, it’s our job to make it easy for them to find what they want. To do this, you need to create an online user experience and provide valuable information that will drive them to convert faster from leads to customers.

First, define what a successful conversion is to you. Is it a phone call? A contact-form submission? An online reservation or rental? Regardless, it’s essential to track the user’s journey. This allows you to identify potential usability issues on your website and measure the effectiveness of its design with the user in mind. Then you can create a conversion funnel using monthly goal-tracking in Google Analytics.

But how do you go about measuring website performance and user behavior? What resources are available to gather this intelligence and turn it into actionable data? To find out if your user experience gives customers what they want, start with A/B testing, which is a controlled experiment with two variables. Without running tests, it’s impossible to make smart marketing decisions.

Run experiments to measure the effectiveness of your website page design, calls to action and special offers. This will give you a map of customer behavior to see if they click what you expect them to click. If the results are unexpected, review those insights and improve the experience with data at hand.

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